production agriculture

More rain and less warmth than normal is both a blessing and challenge to farmers. About 60 percent of corn is in the ground in the Texas Panhandle. Jourdan Bell is a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agronomist. He says he’s concerned about fungal disease. Some seed put in the ground hasn’t germinated, and in saturated conditions you can see degradation and possible infection. Bell also says if the corn’s not planted by early May, there can be some pretty hefty yield degradation. That’s led to farmers considering planting grain sorghum. The moisture’s has a mixed impact on wheat. Bell says there’s been a lot of hail damage and very heavy disease pressure, but he thinks farmers will see a considerable boost in yields.

Cattle prices and the possibility of a break in the drought has a Texas Panhandle family changing gears reports the Wall Street Journal. Rex McCloy and his two sons used to focus on growing cotton, corn, wheat, and soybeans. Now the family is betting the recent break in drought conditions will continue, and they’re investing in cattle. McCloy says three years ago there wasn't enough grass to feed a goat, let alone a cow. Now the family is building up the herd to capitalize on high cattle prices and lower feed costs.

Recent rains helped Kansas wheat fields, but one rain isn't going to save this year's wheat crop.

Hundreds of corn farmers across the state of Kansas attended Corn School this year reports Seedbuzz.  If you wonder what producers learn at corn school, here are some lessons they took away:

  • You have to soil test.  David Mengel is a soil fertility specialist at KSU.  He shared this quote from North Dakota counterparts, "Producers would not dare go to the field without checking the oil in their tractor engine. One should approach soil testing in the same manner."

Yields are expected to be as good as last year, but commodity crop prices will make it a hard season to survive.

There's a season cycle for row crop's carbon dioxide, and recent research shows the Corn Belt might be contributing more than once thought.

Organic farming may be just as healthy for the farmers who practices it as it is to their consumers reports the Center for Rural Affairs.

Researchers at the National Institute of Health recently completed a 20 year study on the connection between pesticides and depression in farmers.

Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientists are wrapping up a two-year study to determine the best combination of corn hybrids, planting dates and maturity to maintain yield and maximize water-use efficiency reported Laboratory Equipment.  The lead researcher is Dr. Qingwu Xue.  He’s a crop stress physiologist.  He says the overall goal of the study is to determine if irrigation water can be saved while preserving yields. 

More rain could turn things around for farmers, but if the weather turns hot and dry, it could be a repeat of last year.

On the high plains, there aren’t any commercially navigable rivers, and the U.S. rail system has been the main way for farmers to move grain to ports to sell around the world said a recent article in Reuters.

Farmers across the high plains are faced with planting choices every year.  This year Texas farmers are wondering if corn, cotton, or sorghum will make the most money according to StateImpact Texas